By CODY WORSHAM
Tiger Rag Editor
STOCK UP: Passing Game
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Danny Etling was excellent in his first start, completing 19 of 29 passes for 215 yards and 1 touchdown, including a first quarter strike to DJ Chark (3 catches, 52 yards), who nimbly dragged both toes in the back of the end zone to grab his first career touchdown reception. Malachi Dupre, meanwhile, overcame his recent case of the drops, snagging four of four targets out of the slot for 54 yards. Other notable passing game contributors: Foster Moreau, who grabbed his first career reception, and JD Moore, who tripled his career touch tally by snagging two passes for nine yards.
STOCK UP: Josh Growden
After a shaky start to his career in Lambeau, Josh Growden showed why LSU offered him a scholarship, despite having never played a down of football in his life prior to his arrival in Baton Rouge. He was a weapon for the Tigers in the punting game, booting five balls for a 49.2 yard average, including a 65-yarder in the first quarter that helped set up LSU’s second touchdown. As good as his average was, Growden’s strongest suit was his ability to force fair catches. State had one return yard, leading to a net punting average of 49 yards per punt for the Tigers. If he keeps that up, it’ll go a long way in fixing LSU’s faults in the game’s third phase.
STOCK UP: Honorable Mention
Andy Dodd played the most significant football of his career when Pocic moved to left tackle, and did nothing to stand out — exactly what you want out of your center. Lewis Neal nabbed 1.5 sacks and 2.0 tackles for loss. One of those sacks forced State out of field goal territory on third down. Danny Etling showed off his wheels, buying time in the pocket several times with his feet and rushing three times for 23 yards. Arden Key (2 sacks, 2.5 for loss) was a monster.
STOCK DOWN: Offensive Tackles
By the middle of the third quarter, LSU was without both of its starting offensive tackles. Toby Weathersby left in the first half with a leg injury, and KJ Malone left in the middle of the third quarter with a similar knock. That bumped center Ethan Pocic to left tackle, as Andy Dodd entered the game at center, and slotted Maea Teuhema at right tackle. Pocic’s first snap on the left wasn’t memorable: his hold of State pass-rusher AJ Jefferson negated a first down for the Tigers and led to an LSU punt.
STOCK DOWN: Trick Plays
Three times LSU dialed up trickery in the first half. Three times, it failed. First was the game’s first play from scrimmage, a reverse to DJ Chark that netted minus-4 yards for the Tigers. Then came a halfback pass from Leonard Fournette, who overshot his target down the right sideline. Finally, Malachi Dupre took a reverse and threw toward Danny Etling, overshooting him by several feet. Perhaps the plays kept State on its heels and set up the rest of the playbook. But the three, on their own accord, didn’t go according to plan.
STOCK DOWN: Honorable Mention
Kevin Tolliver got picked on several times in man coverage. He was blanketing his man, but failed to find the ball. Leonard Fournette was dominant, as usual, but fumbled twice, including on a fourth down that gave State the ball back in the fourth quarter. Speaking of Fourth Downs, LSU failed to stop State three times on fourth down and didn’t convert its own.